A San Diego sheriff’s deputy has been filmed brutally choking and tasering a child for skateboarding around a parking lot.
Horrified bystanders are heard yelling at the cop to stop in the video as the child writhes in agony from being tased at point blank range in the spine by the cop who already has him in a choke hold.
Witnesses told reporters with the San Diego Union-Tribune, that the cop attempted to force several witnesses to delete the footage from their phones after he had put the kid in the back of the police car.
The report notes that the child had run away from home, and been missing for a day-and-a-half. The cop was aware of this and was looking for him at his mother’s request.
The sheriff’s office is claiming that the deputy did not have the kid in a choke hold and that the treatment of the boy was justified because when confronted, he reached into the waistband of his pants.
“He approached him, identified him, verified who he was and said he had to come with him,” (Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan) Caldwell said. “The juvenile refused. As the situation unfolded, he became not only verbally assaultive but physically combative.”
The cop also claims that the boy bit him on the hand, prompting the tasering.
“There were other juveniles and people in the area with skateboards and there was only one deputy,” Caldwell said. “He needed to get the situation under control as quickly as he could.”
The witness who filmed the video spoke to reporters with PINAC, claiming that the cop used excessive force for no good reason, and that the kid, referred to as “Josh”, was on his way home anyway, because he had injured his hand.
“As he walked by the officer, the officer said ‘get in the car please,’ and Josh asked ‘why’, because he was confused. The officer gets out the car and grabs him and throws him down. Josh was saying ‘my hand hurts, my hand’. Then the officer than just put him in a choke hold. I saw his face red like a tomato.”
“[The officer] then starts tazering Josh in the lower back spine and that when the officer pointed his tazer towards us, thinking we were gonna stop him or something, but we backed off and the officer just choking him and still tazering him. We were yelling ‘get off him, get off him’. Then he just picked him up like he was a doll and put him in the back [of the police vehicle].”
The witness also claims that the cop threatened to have everyone at the scene arrested, and wanted to confiscate their phones.
“So they all separate us, ask for our information, and took pictures of us all, even the minors. Another friend was recording only a little bit, so he didn’t much, but they asked to see his phone and the video- and they tried erasing it. They asked me if I was also recording, but I said no because I didn’t want them looking at the video.” the young man said.
The sheriff’s office says it is looking into the incident further and will investigate the claims of the deputy attempting to delete videos from the cell phones of witnesses.